In a major embarrassment for BCCI, former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi is set to reclaim the post of Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) President when he takes on Rampal Sharma in the state body polls on Thursday under the watchful eyes of Supreme Court-appointed observer Justice N M Kasliwal.
Earlier in the day, Modi received a shot in the arm after a Justice Kasliwal cleared his nomination to contest for the post of RCA President.
Modi is pitted against Rampal Sharma, who is believed to be close to the incumbent president C P Joshi.
With more than 28 districts supporting Modi, it is likely to be a one-sided battle but these developments have made BCCI furious because Modi has been banned for life by the country's cricket board on disciplinary grounds.
The BCCI, which had warned RCA that Modi should not be allowed to continue to hold the post of Nagaur District Cricket Association President and also threatened suspension, reiterated its stand and said that RCA might face dire consequences if it does stop the former IPL chief from contesting the polls.
It was believed that the Joshi faction, who has lost most of its supporters after BJP came into power in the recently-held state assembly elections, would withdraw its nominations but it didn't happen. After the withdrawls, Modi was pitted against Rampal Sharma while his counsel Mehmood M Abdi would be fighting for post of deputy president against Karunesh Joshi.
For the post of secretary, Somendra Tiwari from Modi faction is likely to win against Fateh Lal Tak while Pawan Goyal from Modi's belt was hot favorite against Kiran Kumar Gurjar. There are nine candidates for six post of vice-president and seven in fray for four joint secretary's posts.
For the four posts of organising secretary there are six candidates. Three executive members were elected unanimously as there were only three nominations.
Earlier in the day, Justice Kasliwal, the judge appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee the RCA elections as a principal observer, accepted Modi's candidature for the top post, rejecting the arguments put forth by his rival, Rampal Sharma's lawyer. Bhilwara District Cricket Association secretary, Sharma, a close aide of incumbent RCA president C P Joshi, had objected to Modi's candidature on the ground that the RCA stands to lose its rights and privileges as BCCI member if Modi was voted to power.
The judge also cleared the nomination of another Modi aide Pawan Goyal, secretary of the Alwar District Cricket Association, to contest the elections for the Treasurer post. Kasliwal arrived at the decision after hearing counsels for both the parties earlier today.
Opposition lawyer argued on three points: Modi's passport has been revoked by the Mumbai Regional Passport Office following the probe by the Enforcement Directorate; he can't run the day-to-day affairs of the RCA sitting in London, and he can't contest the RCA elections as per the BCCI's rules and regulations, which say all the members, including RCA, are bound to follow the decision taken and directives issued in the interest of cricket board, especially those related to disciplinary proceedings.
However, lawyer Abhinav Sharma, appearing for RCA, countered that since the RCA was governed by the Rajasthan Sports Act 2005, the BCCI ban was not applicable on the former BCCI vice-president; there is no need for him to be physically present all the time and he can run the management of the RCA from London; and that the client (Modi) has not received the copy of probe report submitted against him to BCCI till date.